Two large scale tension structures were installed at the Speers Point Swim Centre as part of a $300,000 redevelopment by the Lake Macquarie City Council. The swim centre upgrade, which was aimed at improving the amenities for a fast-growing community, has added a solar heating system, diving blocks and two brand new shade structures using 860m² of Commercial Heavy 430 architectural shade fabric from Gale Pacific.

Alfresco Shade was engaged by the Council to design, fabricate and install the massive new shade structures. Given the location of the project, the brief sought ‘a cover that has to last the distance in a coastal zone’. Additionally, the large single sail installations also required a monofilament fabric that could be tensioned evenly across four corners.

Alfresco Shade chose Commercial Heavy 430 architectural shade fabric from Gale Pacific. Engineered in Australia specifically to withstand extreme weather conditions on large scale tension structures, this architectural shade fabric is made with a 100% round monofilament yarn using a patented intertwining knit pattern. Combining superior biaxial strength and load-bearing performance, Commercial Heavy 430 is not only cost-effective but also gives the end user a 15-year warranty, according to Alfresco Shade.

Since the shade structures were being designed for the pool, Alfresco Shade had to consider the challenges of manoeuvring boom lifts and risking damage to the concrete surface from the use of heavy machinery during installation.

To address these potential problems, Alfresco Shade decided to construct the unit 52 metres away in a nearby carpark. Using a 140-tonne crane, each structure was lifted into place, with a fully bolted system enabling the arms to be easily fixed to the columns. Thereafter, Gale Pacific’s Commercial Heavy 430 architectural shade fabric in Aquatic Blue was rolled down and tensioned accordingly.

The clever design and installation techniques enabled Alfresco Shade to successfully complete both structures in less than 18 hours, allowing the public to resume using the facilities. While the 50m pool features a 594m² shade structure, the 25m pool boasts a 270m² shade sail.

The Speers Point Swim Centre upgrade was co-funded by the Lake Macquarie City Council as part of a $684,000 state funding commitment through last year’s Stronger Country Communities Fund. Additionally, the local swim centres at Morisset, West Wallsend, Charlestown and Swansea were also improved with shade structure upgrades using the remaining funds. Alfresco Shade’s installations can be admired at the Charlestown and Swansea swim centres.